My thoughts on Jurassic World

In the summer of 1993, as children, we were wowed by Steven Spielberg’s cinematic adaptation of Michael Crichton’s book about dinosaurs running amok on an island. Fast forward 22 years, as adults we are still excited to witness pretty much the same thing on a larger scale in the visual spectacle that is Jurassic World.

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Set 22 years since the events of the first movie, (the movie completely ignores the events of JP2 and the horrible JP3), this movie starts with the audiences being introduced to the fully operational and quite profitable dinosaur amusement park that is Jurassic World. Continue reading

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Why You Should Write A Letter

This year as part of my 52 challenges for the year, I began a practice that I soon hope to transform into a tradition. Writing letters, old school style with a pen and paper. I’ve been writing one letter each month to my parents and elder brother and his family, who reside back home in India. In fact my habit has got them writing back as well! Continue reading

The Immortals

Captain Michael Adameus and his first mate, Lieutenant Wera Evelyn were a two member crew that had set out from their home planet over six years ago with a mission to seek out and colonise the planet Eternia.

Discovered by the leading team of astrophysicists of their planet, Eternia was the promise land, equipped with all the perfect conditions required to establish a prosperous society in the far reaches of the Galaxy for their race.

Continue reading

Let’s Talk

I’m a software engineer by education. Well technically I’m an Information Technology graduate. But well, becoming a software engineer is the most obvious career choice. In my line of work, developing or customising applications is a major portion of the job description. Major, but not the only one. Documentation is an equally crucial and required aspect of application development, maintenance and modification. From simple comments explaining changes within the application code itself to drafting technical specifications detailing the approach and changes.

From time to time you also need to liaise with folks who aren’t all that tech savvy and need to be briefed about the application. Naturally apart from written matter, oral communication forms an integral part of this interaction. And like most businesses across the globe, communication in our line of work also takes place in the Queen’s English.

Trouble is that most folks in the IT industry aren’t all that concerned about their communication skills. And no, I’m not being judgmental. This is based purely on personal observation and experience. And I’m not talking about violations to Wren & Martin’s English, I’m referring to the utter lack of elementary knowledge or understanding of basic communication in the English language.

Trivial things such as pronunciation of certain words, forming simple sentences or even the correct usage of words and phrases seem akin to uphill tasks for these folks. And the worst part is that almost none of them are aware of the faux pas they commit on a daily (in some cases hourly!) basis. It’s truly frustrating for someone who has been brought up to subscribe to the notion that communication should stem from use of proper diction, grammar and enunciation. I’ve come across examples of simple email communications gone awry due to the use of absolutely incorrect language. There have been phone calls where I’ve bit my lip from laughing at the funny pronunciations of commonly used words and truly creative rendition of standard phrases. And I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to mentally correct the other party when involved in face to face conversations.

So what’s the problem here? Are the folks in the industry not interested in speaking and/or writing correct English? Or is it something beyond that? In my opinion this phenomenon can be attributed to a couple of factors.

Let’s start from the start (Duh!) English as a first language isn’t common beyond certain private schools in most countries globally. As a result education is imparted in another language and English becomes a second (or even third) language for many school children. Think about how proficient you are in a language you learned as an additional one way back in school! Not that good at conversing in high school French or Spanish are you?

As students progress through their high schools and later their colleges and universities, this starts getting to be a slightly larger issue. Students need to focus their attention to their subject majors which are usually related to coding. Little known fact about programming, most of the syntax and semantics aren’t bound by the laws of regular english grammar! Oh yea, there maybe a subject which is meant to educate the kids on the importance of Communication and proper English. But let’s face it, when you’re studying to major in Advanced Database Management, conversing in English isn’t on your top ten list!

Even the hiring process for fresh graduates is no different. A major portion of the evaluation process focusses solely on your technical abilities and puts quite a minimal amount of focus on your conversational or communication abilities. After all, the employer is paying you for your knowledge of writing that complex piece of code, not for your flair to use the right words when describing your Curriculum Vitae. Are they wrong in doing so? Not entirely. After all they ARE looking for technical experts, not Shakespearean orators. Any other skill, decent communication or otherwise, is simply an added bonus, not an essential qualification.

The industry too is not very critical of your lack of grammatical knowledge. Of course no one wants to spend (read waste!) their time attempting to correct the other person’s communication. Partially because they don’t wanna snub the other fellow, but mostly because they just want to get the real job done, the technical one. You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve heard Project Managers putting up with truly ungifted conversationalists simply because they didn’t want to lose out on his technical prowess by correcting his (or her) god awful grammar.

And please remember that communication goes beyond just the proper use of grammar. Etiquette is an important aspect of communication as well. Something as common as clicking the “Reply” instead of the “Reply All” button when responding to emails or avoiding the use of brightly coloured or image heavy content when sending memos across to multiple recipients. Or even the tone and pitch that need to be adopted when speaking to someone over the phone or in person are lost causes.

So, the question is, does it matter that the IT folk can’t hold up a decent conversation in English without succumbing to making grammatical faux pas? Well, that’s something I’ll let you, the reader, decide.

*Disclaimer – Although this post talks about the lack of grammatical knowledge among the IT folk, there is a very good probability that the author of the post himself may have committed numerous grammatical mistakes as well. Go easy on him alright. Do not feel obligated to post comments!

Why I Like The Robot Over The Fruit.

As an early adopter of the Android platform (I’ve owned very first Google Branded Phone – the Nexus One) and an avid one at that (Since then I’ve owned the HTC Desire HD, the HTC Sensation and now the HTC One X), it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I have a thing for the Android platform. But don’t get all presumptuous and write me off as a Fandroid and an Apple Hater yet. I also own a Mac Book Pro (The latest iteration before the Retina Display ones kicked in) an iPod Touch and an iPad 2.

With all the Apple products I have in my life, you’re probably asking yourselves, Why in God’s name is this fella not using an iPhone! Well, it’s a personal thing and I’m not here to debate on whether Apple or Android is better. There are plenty of forums and articles bashing either platform, and clearly each side has some great arguments.

I’m here to point out why I personally feel Android has done more good for the smartphone universe than it’s elite predecessing counterpart.

Provide an OS platofrm that can be used across varying hardware
The Android OS was designed such that it could be ported to a multitude of hardware devices. You’ve probably seen numerous phones runing this OS, but did you know that this is also being used across digital cameras, TV Media hubs and even refrigerators! Yea, that’s the brilliance of the open source code of Android. Developers and tech enthusiasts have tweaked the source code in ways that let it be conveniently ported from one device to another bringing rich features to all sorts of consumer devices.

Open source allows robust community to provide further customizations and tweaks
If you own an Android phone and are a regular on the various forums, you’ve probably heard of Cyanogenmod. Like them, there are various other groups that develope and support custom ROMs and other tweaks that can be “flashed” to your android device to give you even more bang for your buck. Stable ROMs have known to provide

  • Faster CPU clockspeeds
  • Enhanced customization options
  • Latest OS updates (really useful if you’re using a non nexus device)
  • And loads more…

A touch smartphone for every one at different price points
Touch Smartphones owners were an exclusive lot. Well considering that for a long time the iPhone was probably the only true touch smartphone, and was insanely expensive for consumers in countries like India, the number of folks that owned one was very low. With Android, manufacturers were able to create low-cost handsets that could run the OS and provide all (well almost) of the features that a smartphone offers. Look at any major player, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony and even Motorola and you’ll find an exhaustive inventory of budget smartphones running the Android OS.

Deep Integration with Google Services
This one needs no explanation at all. As an Android user, you get a SSO experience across all Google products. And yes, cloud syncing of contacts, calendar and tasks as well as OTA wireless updates of Apps and OS was first introduced by Android as early as 2010.

Despite the numerous features that Android has to offer an a platform, it’s sad that most iPhone users refuse to accept the fact that their phone isn’t the epitome of class and technology and have this blind hatred for the Android platform and the phones that use them. Most of them haven’t even used one in ages and are oblivious to the feature rich platform that is Android.

Refinement alone cannot carry a product forward. After a point, features do become a crucial variable in the equation.

So, well I lied. I mentioned this would not be one of those posts that would not decide which mobile OS platform is better. Unfortunately, it seems that’s exactly what this turned out to be! Ah well, the facts are here for you to read and comment. So let me know your thoughts.

Till then, Android #FTW